Monday, January 17, 2022

We are very close to a point of no return, says Dubey about Quebec hospitals

The province is scrambling to find another 1,000 health care workers to send to hospitals as COVID-19 admissions continue to rise.

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With hundreds more COVID-19 patients expected to be admitted to Quebec hospitals this week, health experts say the province needs to do more to slow the spread of the virus.

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At a news conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Christian Dubey said Quebec was scrambling to find 1,000 health care workers to send to hospitals as they were pushed to a breaking point with the continued spread of the Omicron variant has gone.

“The coming weekend is going to be the hardest,” Dubey said on Tuesday, as COVID-19 hospitalizations in Quebec reached 2,742, including 255 in intensive care.

Although Dubey suspects that half of Quebec’s COVID-19 hospitalizations (outside intensive care) are among patients admitted for reasons other than the virus (who have since tested positive), he said estimates suggest that the COVID-19 Hospitalizations for 19 specifically can reach 2,500. Coming days.

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“We are very close to achieving a level which is very difficult, within a week,” Dubey said, explaining that another 1,000 hospitalizations would bring the situation to the highest alert level, leading to There will be unbearable disruption. “We are very close to a point of no return.”

For Dr. Donald Vinh, an infectious-disease specialist and medical microbiologist at McGill University Health Center, the distinction between patients hospitalized for COVID and those admitted with COVID is “a little disturbing.”

“You still need the same amount of dedicated rooms, personnel and equipment,” he said. “The virus does not care whether it is accompanied by COVID or in spite of COVID – the person has COVID and is potentially transmissible to other people, including those at risk to health care workers. … you don’t want a nurse taking care of a COVID positive patient then going to a little old lady who doesn’t have COVID and taking care of her, because we know that’s why COVID COVID led into second waves. ,

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At MUHC, the tension of COVID-19 can be felt throughout the building. On Tuesday, Vinh said he was on his way to a meeting to discuss the ration of care in his workplace.

“We are at that point,” he said.

In Vinh’s department, rationing care is meant to decide which COVID-positive immunocompromised patients who do not respond well to vaccines will receive pre-emptive treatment with monoclonal antibodies to protect against the virus. to prevent it from becoming serious or fatal.

“We can catch them early and give them, but of course we don’t have enough to do that for everyone,” Vinh said, noting that hospitals get about 10-20 doses per week. and that MUHC has given. Eight alone in the last two days. “How do we address it? That’s the type of conversation we’re having.”

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While the province rests its pandemic response on metrics of hospitalization and intensive-care numbers, treatments such as Vinh provide patients who need hospital beds in those cases.

“There are issues both upstream and downstream outside of hospitalization,” he said. “Hospitalization is a current metric the government is focusing on, makes sense, because that ship is a hole right now. The other problem with the ship, except that the wood is rotting and no dock is visible. has been.”

Quebec’s interim public health director, Dr. Luc Boileau – who has so far led the Institut National d’Excellence en Sante et Services Socio (INESS) – said he expects the peak of the fifth wave to hit Quebec soon But he can do that. t confirm it is there yet.

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“We are really hoping that we will see transmission slow down soon,” he said.

But with an imminent return to school for students and work for their teachers, Dr. Andre Vilet said it is possible that reaching the peak may take longer than expected.

“The bottom line is we don’t know,” he said. “I think (return to school and work) will have an effect. They may not be immediate, they may take a few weeks. Because of that, we need to do as much as we can right now.”

For vets, greater emphasis is needed on the use of N95 masks, physical distancing, rapid testing, better ventilation and giving adult Quebecers their boosters and children their second dose as soon as possible.

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“The risk is that it’s going to take until March for everyone over 18 to be vaccinated, and by then, the damage from this wave will have already been done,” he said. “I think if we want to protect people from getting sick, we should vaccinate them as soon as possible. It should have been done in November, October also.”

Echoing Vilet, Vinh called for similar measures and a more coherent approach to dealing with the pandemic in Quebec.

Vinh said, “We may not have limited restrictions and curfews, but inconsistent messages on masks, inconsistent messages on the quality of masks needed, no idea of ​​the need for better ventilation, the delay of the third dose and the ongoing staggering role.” Is.” “The message on the one hand is that everyone gets your dose, on the other it is that not everyone has received your dose yet.”

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kthomas@postmedia.com

twitter.com/katelynthomas

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